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Lanesborough Finance Committee Weighs in on Special Town Meeting Articles
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
04:10AM / Friday, January 14, 2022
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Finance Committee reviewed the warrant articles submitted for the upcoming special town meeting at noon on Saturday, Jan. 22.

The town meeting, slated to be at the Lanesborough Elementary School, will allow residents to discuss and act upon 15 warrant articles. The contents of these warrant articles are available on the town website.

The board voted to recommend each of the warrant articles discussed. Several of the articles, including articles one, two, three, five, seven, eight and 12, involve the use of free cash, totaling $584,737.26.

Article 2, the most significant free cash expense at $335,000 if approved, would be used to replace the sidewalk and curb on Summer Street from Route 7 to the Lanesborough Elementary School. Town Administrator Joshua Lang said the price came from a quote the town received on the project, noting they plan to look for grant funding to lower this cost further.

"We are going to look for the shared streets pavement improvement program for a grant for that to help pay for that," he said. "I've talked to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on this particular item, and they're willing to provide any technical assistance. So we will be working for grant money to help offset that cost."

Article 1 proposes using $100,000 of free cash to renovate the Town Hall. The renovations include new carpet, energy-efficient windows and the washing and painting of both the interior and exterior of the building.

Lang said the town has not gone through the bidding process for this project yet but plans to do so soon.

"Of course, we will go through the bidding process upon approval for this," he said. "As many folks are aware, it's been some time since there's been some remodel work into the building. It will also include the library for the carpeting part as well."

When discussing the article, Lang highlighted the importance of establishing a long-range maintenance plan for the town. He said having such a plan should help Lanesborough in the future.

"I think it's been some time since we've kind of had something of that sort," he said. "So that we can plan and appropriate and organize ourselves a little bit to replace all of it, as opposed to trying to do it all one shot."

Article 3, which will use $125,000 of free cash if approved, will be put toward repaving one lane of Summer Street between Old Cheshire Road and Old State Road. Additionally, the town will use this money to repave one section of Old State Road, where the Lanesborough Water District installed a new water line.

The board also discussed Article 6, which proposes the town raise or transfer $38,865.57 in funding to purchase or lease a new vehicle for the Lanesborough Police Department. The board was confused why this article, which they said got voted on at the last town meeting, was not ultimately included in the budget.

Board member Ronald Tinkham said he thought its exclusion might have had to do with the article's original wording. Lang, who was not working as town administrator at the time, said he was not sure the reasoning behind it not being included.

"I don't know what happened as far as all the wording and stuff," he said. "I did have town counsel review this particular language. I showed him the particular lease arrangement for the police vehicle. He thought that this was appropriate the way that we had this word in here."

Article 11, which the board voted in favor of, will transfer $101,000 from the Ambulance Enterprise Fund to pay the first payment for the town's new ambulance. Article 12 will use $2,895 of free cash to get a 10-year warranty on two generators for the fire company.  

Article 8, which the board voted to recommend, will use $1,008.65 to give to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for stormwater services if approved.

Article 9, also approved, will be used to pay Community Paradigm Associates for their work in the town's town administrator search.

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